Sheldon van der Linde becomes first South African to win a DTM race

Sheldon van der Linde celebrates his maiden DTM victory.
Sheldon van der Linde celebrates his maiden DTM victory.
Image: Supplied

Sheldon van der Linde took the first DTM win of his career and the first DTM victory for a South African in Sunday’s race at Assen in the Netherlands.

The BMW Team RBM driver made perfect use of the rain and the difficult track conditions and, thanks to a flawless drive and a perfect team strategy, moved up from 14th on the grid to P1.

Timo Glock, Marco Wittmann, Philipp Eng and Lucas Auer also did well in the conditions and finished in the top 10.

After a dry qualifying session, heavy rain set in shortly before the race started. The rain eased off gradually in the first half of the race, and Glock in particular set off on an extraordinary race to gain positions with strong overtaking manoeuvres in that initial stage, which saw him move up into second place.

Van der Linde made his compulsory pit stop early, and afterwards had a clear run which saw him move up into the lead after his rivals made later pit stops.

An accident and heavy rain setting in again temporarily interrupted the race.

On the restart, Van der Linde held on to his top spot and brought the win home. Jonathan Aberdein was the highest qualifying BMW driver in sixth, but was unable to keep up with the pace at the front in the rain and ended up finishing in 13th place.

“It’s incredible,"  an ecstatic Van der Linde said after the race.

"We started from 14th on the grid and moved up into P1. To be honest, a dream came true today. We never would have expected it at the start. This shows that anything can happen. The weather was really strange the whole weekend. We were able to get the maximum out of the race and my team had a fantastic strategy today. The car was amazing in the wet. I’m just really happy to have my first DTM win. I think everyone at BMW more than deserves this. My team worked so hard for this. Thanks to everyone for this.”

The fifth race weekend of the DTM season is this coming weekend, at the Nürburgring in Germany.

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